M.A.S.K. Day 2014: A Brief Timeline of M.A.S.K.

Welcome agents to our celebration of M.A.S.K. Day! This franchise holds a soft spot in the hearts of those who have enjoyed from their childhood to the present day. As many of you may know by now, our love for M.A.S.K. extends beyond just the show, the toys, and merchandise. It has motivated us to create this website, record podcasts, write a movie script, and delve into the resources from other spectrums (pun intended.)

As we celebrate the 29th anniversary of Mobile Armored Strike Kommand's first appearance on American television today, we invite you to take a look at a brief timeline of the franchise's history.

Animated Series
M.A.S.K. officially entered our childhood on Sept 16, 1985 when the first episode of the animated series "The Deathstone" introduced us to Matt Trakker, Miles Mayhem, their agents, and their awesome transforming vehicles. The first season of 65 episodes initially ran Monday through Friday in first run syndication (namely the USA network) through Dec 27, 1985. During this time, M.A.S.K. became the first animated series to feature closed-captions for the hearing impaired in first-run syndication.

The 2nd season of M.A.S.K. shot back into action on Sept 6, 1986 beginning with "Demolition Duel to the Death" episode. Just 10 new episodes were released and debuted weekly through Nov 26, 1986. Although the show was never nominated for any awards, voice actor Brennan Thicke was nominated for a Young Artist award in 1987 for his portrayal of Scott Trakker.

M.A.S.K. continued to air on the famed "USA Cartoon Express" through 1989. It was also broadcast later on the Fox Kids network.

M.A.S.K. was one of many shows in the '80s that was produced for one specific purpose...to sell toys! And even though the television series aired just 75 original episodes over the course of a calendar year, the toylines original run lasted much longer. Four series of toys were produced beginning in 1985 through 1988.

Series 1

The first series of figure/vehicles sets are as follows:
  • Boulder Hill with Alex Sector (Jackrabbit mask) and Buddy Hawks (Penetrator mask)
  • Condor with Brad Turner (Hocus Pocus mask)
  • Firecracker with Hondo MacLean (Blaster mask)
  • Gator with Dusty Hayes (Backlash mask)
  • Rhino with Matt Trakker (Ultra Flash mask) and Bruce Sato (Lifter mask)
  • Thunderhawk with Matt Trakker (Spectrum mask)
  • T-Bob with Scott Trakker
  • Jackhammer with Cliff Dagger (Torch mask)
  • Piranha with Sly Rax (Stiletto mask)
  • Switchblade with Miles Mayhem (Viper mask)
  • Figure Packs
    • Matt Trakker/Miles Mayhem
    • Matt Trakker/Hondo MacLean
    • Bruce Sato/Brad Turner
    • Alex Sector/Buddy Hawks
    • Sly Rax/Cliff Dagger

Series 2

The series two toyline was introduced in 1986 and provided the following figure/vehicle sets:
  • Firefly with Julio Lopez (Streamer mask)
  • Hurricane aka Nightstalker with Hondo MacLean (Blaster II mask)
  • Raven with Calhoun Burns (Gulliver mask)
  • Slingshot with Ace Riker (Ricochet mask)
  • Volcano with Matt Trakker (Lava mask) and Jacques LaFleur (Maraj mask)
  • Outlaw with Miles Mayhem (Python mask) and Nash Gorey (Powerhouse mask)
  • Stinger aka Scorpion with Bruno Sheppard (Magna-Beam mask)
  • Vampire with Floyd Malloy (Buckshot mask)

Series 3

The third series introduced us to what is commonly known as the "Racing Series" toyline in 1987:
  • Billboard Blast with Dusty Hayes (Vacuum mask)
  • Bulldog aka Bulldoze with Boris Bushkin (Comrade mask)
  • Bullet aka Bandit with Ali Bombay (Vortex mask)
  • Goliath with Matt Trakker (Shroud mask) and Nevada Rushmore (Totem mask)
  • Meteor with Ace Riker (Cruise Control mask)
  • Razorback with Brad Turner (Eclipse mask)
  • The Collector with Alex Sector (Disruptor mask)
  • Wildcat with Buddy 'Clutch' Hawks (Ditcher mask)
  • Buzzard with Miles Mayhem (Flexor mask) and Maximus Mayhem (Deep Freeze mask)
  • Iguana with Lester Sledge (Mudslinger mask)
  • Manta with Vanessa Warfield (Whip mask)
  • Pit Stop  Catapult with Sly Rax (Sawblade mask)

Series 4

Moving on to the fourth series or "Split Seconds" series toyline, these vehicles sets were introduced towards the end of 1987 and followed through into 1988:
  • Afterburner with Dusty Hayes (Backlash mask)
  • Detonator with Jacques LaFleur (Maraj mask)
  • Dynamo with Bruce Sato (Lifter mask)
  • Fireforce with Julio Lopez (Streamer mask)
  • Skybolt with Matt Trakker (Spectrum mask)
  • Stiletto with Gloria Baker (Collider mask)
  • Barracuda aka Jackal with Bruno Sheppard (Magna-Beam mask)
  • Vandal with Floyd Malloy (Buckshot mask)
  • Wolfbeast with Miles Mayhem (Viper mask)
  • Thunderball with Cliff Dagger (Torch mask) NOT PRODUCED
  • Ramp-up with Hondo MacLean (New Blaster mask) NOT PRODUCED

Finally, let's take a look some other sets and figures that weren't specifically released with any of the four toylines:
  • Adventure Packs (1986)
    • Coastal Patrol with Matt Trakker (Dolphin mask)
    • Jungle Challenge with Matt Trakker (Arrow mask)
    • Rescue Mission with Bruce Sato (Grasshopper mask)
    • VENOM's Revenge with Miles Mayhem (Ripper mask)
  • Laser Command (1987)
    • Hornet with Matt Trakker (Lasertron mask)
    • Ratfang with Miles Mayhem (Raynet mask)
Mystery Adventure and figure packs with variant color schemes were also released in Europe and Argentina markets only.

Moving along from the series and toyline to the comics, the first series toyline actually included three mini-comics inside the boxes:
  • "Flaming Beginnings"
  • "A Monster from VENOM"
  • "Assault on Boulder Hill"
DC Comics produced M.A.S.K. comic books in the U.S. that began with a four part mini-series from 1985-86:
  • "When Opportunity Knox"
  • "The Domain of the Dead"
  • "The Family Jewels"
  • "The Ray of Doom"
DC Comics' then began an ongoing series that lasted 9 issues in 1987 with the following titles:
  • "The Ice Age Cometh"
  • "Masquerade"
  • "The Switchblade Conspiracy"
  • "Matt Trakker...Outlaw"
  • "African Nightmare"
  • "Jacana's Revenge"
  • "Countdown To Doomsday"
  • "Fun in the Sun!"
  • "Meltdown"

At approximately the same time frame from Oct 1986 to Oct 1988, a U.K.-based M.A.S.K. comic series produced 80 total issues. M.A.S.K. then joined forces with Eagle Magazine beginning in 1988 and producing 22 more issues through March 1989. Eagle Comics also produced a single issue of "Adventures of Cliff Dagger" in Jan 1989. M.A.S.K. continued to extend its comic book influence into Germany though we are unsure of how many issues were made. (thanks to M.A.S.K. Comics Blog for the info.) In 2011, a reimagined M.A.S.K. team also appeared briefly in an exclusive HASBRO/IDW comic for New York Comic-Con.

DVD Sets
On August 9, 2011, M.A.S.K. was finally released in the U.S. with Shout! Factory "complete series" DVD set. Even though it did not contain the 10 racing episodes, fans were very grateful to have the animated series readily available for the first time. U.K., Australia, France, and other countries have had the pleasure of viewing M.A.S.K. throughout the years via individual VHS video cassettes and also DVD box sets.

Present Day
Fast forward to the present day, fans and collectors continue to demonstrate their love for M.A.S.K. with fan art, fan comics, apparel, posters, social media, blogs/websites and movie scripts to keep the franchise alive.

Mobile Armored Strike Kommand has earned its place among its animated peers and deserves a chance to be resurrected. Loyal fans agree that M.A.S.K. would certainly be able to make a great impact in the entertainment realm. Share our enthusiasm by celebrating with us, signing the Bring Back M.A.S.K. petition, and advertising M.A.S.K. Day by using hashtags #MASKday, #assembleMASK, and #HASBRO on your social media. We also invite you to snag the M.A.S.K. Day logo and change your profile pic to show your support!

Visit the Agents of M.A.S.K. Facebook page today as we share the festivities happening across the web. Also join us for a live Q/A session tonight on Facebook at 8pm US Eastern time as we answer your question and reminisce!

Happy 29th Birthday and assemble Mobile Armored Strike Kommand!!!

Sources: wikipedia.org, AlbertPenello.com, Boulder-Hill.net, maskcomics.blogspot.com, comicvine.com

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